The framework for understanding terrorist plots is still a useful guide for anyone seeking to thwart actions both complex and simple.
Last week while attending a conference where I was a speaker, I had the opportunity to listen to a U.S. government representative give a presentation on terrorism. One of the topics he discussed was the trend in recent years toward what he called "homegrown violent extremists" — individuals we at Stratfor refer to as grassroots jihadists. As he talked, the government representative showed a slide depicting the terrorist attack cycle on which, as he clicked, most of the cycle's steps were marked off by red X's indicating that they did not apply in cases involving grassroots jihadists conducting simple attacks. As red X's filled the slide, I thought to myself, "Has the terrorist attack cycle really become obsolete?" I have pondered this question over the past week, and I believe the answer is more a matter of the attack cycle being misunderstood when applied in a leaderless resistance context, than it...
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